Sony Xperia 1 review

Sony's new movie powerhouse

(Image: © Future)

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The Sony Xperia 1 has a few minor issues, and a similar number of small perks – for every flawed fingerprint sensor there’s a Cinema Pro app, and the low max brightness is countered by the various display and sound features that make viewing content a treat. On the whole, though, it’s a decent smartphone.

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

However, there’s one problem which we feel isn’t balanced out in some way, and that’s the cost – for such a high price tag you’d expect the most advanced, potentially iPhone-killing Android smartphone, and the Sony Xperia 1 just isn’t that.

Instead, it’s a specialist handset for a relatively niche audience of cinema buffs who want to recreate, as far as possible, the cinema experience on their phone, and who maybe aspire to create movies of their own.

Who's it for?

You’d have to be a bit of a cinema buff to consider the Sony Xperia 1 over its competition, but for people who want a high-quality movie experience on their phone it’s a compelling purchase. Whether you just want to watch blockbusters when you’re on your commute or traveling, or you’re keen to make your own movies with the Cinema Pro app, this phone is great for cinema fans. 

Should I buy it?

If you fit in that target audience, there’s nothing else that really rivals the Sony Xperia’s 1 selling points, so you should totally take the plunge. If you don’t need the best movie-viewing or video-recording handset, however, there are better phones in the same price range, and similar phones for half the Xperia 1’s price. 


Sony Xperia 10 Plus

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

If a 21:9 handset appeals to you, but you don’t want to invest in the pricey Sony Xperia 1, you could instead look to the Sony Xperia 10 Plus. It’s got almost exactly the same dimensions, a similar 21:9 screen, and much lower price tag – but it’s also got a weaker processor and lesser camera specs. 

Read our full Xperia 10 Plus review

Samsung Galaxy S10

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

If you’ve got $949 / £849 / AU$1,349 to spare, you could consider the Samsung Galaxy S10, the latest handset in the ever-popular Galaxy S range. It’s got a stunning-looking Infinity AMOLED display, wireless charging, an in-screen fingerprint sensor, and every other feature you’d expect from a current premium phone. 

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 review

Sony Xperia XZ3

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

If you’ve got your heart set on a Sony smartphone, its last classic was 2018’s Sony Xperia XZ3, to which the Xperia 1 is something of a spiritual successor. The XZ3 wowed us with its OLED display, although we weren’t as sold on other aspects of the handset, but with recent price drops you’re getting a great phone for a relatively low price. 

Read our full Sony Xperia XZ3 review

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.